Women's Hoops Open Season On Friday Hosting San Francicso State

Nov. 6, 2013

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San Jose, Calif. - To open the 2013-14 season, the San José State women's basketball team hosts the Gators of San Francisco State on Friday night in The Event Center.  The game marks the first game for new head coach Jamie Craighead and the beginning of the Spartans membership in the Mountain West Conference.


vs. San Francisco State
Friday, November 8, 2013, 7:00 P.M.
The Event Center, San Jose, Calif.

Gametracker and Streaming Video available at www.sjsuspartans.com
Radio broadcast at 90.5 KSJS-FM and at www.ksjs.org

Fans can view live stats of all San José State women's basketball games by accessing the "Gametracker" feature at www.sjsuspartans.com.  Click on the link on the women's basketball schedule page to follow the action.

Spartan Digital is your all-access passport to Spartan Athletics.  For live and recorded video/audio of San José State women's basketball home, Mountain West (road and home) and select road contests, Spartan Digital is your home.  Go to Spartan Digital at top of the Spartans Athletics home page or go to www.sjsuspartans.com/video.

Keep up with all 16 of San José State's team through social media sites Twitter and Facebook.  For Twitter go to @sjsuathletics and on Facebook become friends with Sammy Spartans.

The women's basketball Twitter handle is @sanjosestatewbb and our Facebook page is /SanJosetateWBB.

KSJS (90.5 FM, San Jose) originates San José State women's basketball home broadcasts and select road contests.  

Tickets for San José State women's basketball home games are free for all SJSU students with a valid student ID.  Adult tickets are $5.00 and $3.00 for youth (12 and under).  

Groups of 20 or more can buy discounted tickets at $3.00 per person by 5:00 p.m. the business day before the game via the Spartan Ticket Office at (408) 924-SJTX (7589) or (877) SJSUTIX (757-8849).

The Event Center Box Office opens two hours prior to tip-off for any weekend, holiday game or doubleheader and is open regular business hours (10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) for weekday games or weekday doubleheaders.

Parking for all San José State women's basketball games is in the University's Seventh Street Parking Garage. The Seventh Street Garage, located on the Northwest corner of San Salvador Street and Seventh Street, can be accessed through Seventh Street.  Parking is $5.00.

Ta'Rea Cunnigan (Jr., G, Winchester, Calif.) is one of five players to be named the Mountain West Preseason All-Conference team by a vote of the conference's head coaches.

Cunnigan, averaged 19.8 points per game last year, 17th most in the nation, and is the leading scorer among all players "returning" to the Mountain West Conference this year.  Her 3.1 steals were good for 14th nationally.

She was the second leading scorer in the Western Athletic Conference last year and earned first-team All-WAC honors after the season.

San José State has played 38 season openers and has split them right down the center - 19 wins and 19 losses.  Only two of seven head coaches, Sharon Chatman (in 1976-77) and Tina Krah (in 1986-87), have begun their Spartans career with a win in their first game.  Chatman had seven season-opening victories in her 10 years at the helm of the San José State program (1977-86), the most in Spartans history.  The late Janice Richard won six of her seven season openers as the Spartans head coach (1999-2006).

In new head coach Jamie Craighead's first game as head coach, her 2009-10 Sacramento State Hornets lost to Cal State Fullerton.  In four season's at Sacramento State Craighead lost the opening game of each season.

In home games to open a season, the Spartans are 11-13.  Last year's 71-50 win over San Francisco State, snapped a losing streak of five home openers. Before last season, the last win in a home opener came in the 2005-06 season.  

After just two seasons, Ta'Rea Cunnigan (Jr., G, Winchester, Calif.) is already in the top-10 of two San José State career categories.  Her 287 free throws and 393 free throw attempts rank third and seventh, respectively.  In addition, her .730 free throw shooting percentage is tied for fifth all-time and .324 3-point shooting percentage is the 10th best in program history.

There are four categories, among the Spartans' career records, that Cunnigan should enter into the top-10 during this season.  She is 58 points from becoming the 13th player in program history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. In addition, she is 15 3-pointers, 32 3-point attempts and 10 steals from the top-10 in each category.

Riana Byrd (So., C, Richmond, Calif.), who had 64 blocked shots in her freshman campaign, is already in seventh place in the program's career blocks list.

On September 16, Jamie Craighead, who coaches an up-tempo offense and stifling defense, was named San José State University's head women's basketball coach.  She is the eighth head coach in the programs 38-year history.  

Craighead comes to San José State after spending the past four seasons at Sacramento State, where she was the winningest women's head basketball coach in the last 20 years and the only coach to post a winning conference record since they entered the Big Sky Conference in the 1996-97 season.

Under her guidance the Hornets reached the conference tournament for just the fifth (2012) and sixth (2013) times in program history. In those appearances, Sacramento State earned its first tournament wins and reached the semi-final round both years.

The youngest head coach in Division I when she took over Sacramento State., in 2009, Craighead's teams led the Big Sky in scoring in each of her four seasons.

Craighead started her coaching career in 2002, under two-time NCAA Division II Coach of the Year Gordy Presnell, at Seattle Pacific University. In her three years at SPU, the team posted an 89-5 record, won three PacWest Conference titles, qualified for the NCAA Division II Tournament each year and reached the championship game in 2005. After her success in Seattle, she spent two seasons as an assistant at Portland State University before taking a position at Sacramento State.

As a collegiate player at the University of Oregon, Craighead led the Ducks to the 2002 WNIT championship after three appearances in the NCAA Tournament. When she finished her career, her 182 3-point field goals made ranked second all-time in Ducks history.

Craighead earned honorable mention Academic All-Pac-10 honors as a senior and graduated from Oregon with a bachelor's degree in educational studies in 2002.

The Gators are a Division II team who play in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA).  The posted a 12-15 record last year, 9-13 in the CCAA.  They made the conference tournament, but lost in the opening round to end the 2012-13 season.  

SFSU opened its season at Nevada on Tuesday night at Nevada.  They gave the Wolf Pack all they could handle before falling 82-69.  Three players scored in double figures for the Gators and the team hit 10-of-19 from beyond the arc.   

The teams have met 10 times in the 38 year history of Spartans women's basketball.  San José State holds 7-3 advantage the series.  The last meeting, a 70-51 victory for SJSU in The Event Center, came in the first game of the 2012-13 season. The game marked the renewal of the rivalry for the first time in 26 years (1984-85 season).  

San Francisco State lost its leading scorer and rebounder from last season, Farrah Shokoor (11.6 pts/7.5 reb).  Angela Van Sickel (11.4 pts/gm), is the only returner who averaged double figures last year and Lauren Varney tops the returners in rebounds (5.4 reb/gm).

Head coach Dr. Jaoquin Wallace is in his ninth season leading the San Francisco State program.   

The Spartans had five players score in double figures and surpassed the 100-point barrier in a 104-76 exhibition win over the Warriors of William Jessup in their exhibition opener last Tuesday.

Rebecca Woodberry (Jr., G, Phoenix, Ariz.) led the Spartans with 23 points on 8-for-13 shooting including going 4-for-7 from 3-point range.  Ta'Rea Cunnigan (Jr., G, Winchester, Calif.) had 19 points and six assists while Jasmine Smith (Fr., F, Burbank, Calif.) grabbed 19 rebounds and scored 18 points.  Classye James (Jr., G, East Palo Alto, Calif.) had 13 points and Britta Hall (Fr., G, Tualatin, Ore.) added 10 points.

The Spartans, under new head coach Jamie Craighead, traded baskets with the Warriors for the first six minutes.  With the score 10-10 and 13:39 to go in the half, the San José State went on a 11-0 run, in just over two minutes, to take its first double digit lead, 21-10.

The Warriors fought their way back in to the game using the 3-point shot.  They hit four treys in over the next five minutes to cut the lead to 32-28.  The surge was led by Ashley Rose who sank two of her game-high six threes on her way to 32 points.  San José State closed the half on a 12-to-1 run to take a 47-29 lead in the locker room.

In the second half, William Jessup cut the lead to 11 points, 52-41 on a three from Rose with 16:03 to play, but got no closer and the Spartans went on to a 28-point win.

For the game, the Spartans shot 47 percent from the field (40-for-85) to William Jessups' 36.5 percent (27-for-74).  They outrebounded the Warriors 58-to-39 and had a 16-to-10 lead in steals.